WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY
Well within the top circle of local Thai restaurants, Equator has a broader menu than most Thai places, and offers throughout its menu the option of having the food served in the familiar style, or more true to the way it’s done in Thailand. The latter is much soupier and very much hotter. The premises are dark and cool.
Thai cookery has a leg up on most cuisines to start with, if only for its almost absurdly healthy mix of vegetables and herbs with low-fat meats in light but intensely flavorful sauces. Equator’s kitchen cooks all of it with elan. The dishes emerge from the kitchen with a beautiful aspect and eye-popping size.
Café Equator descended from an ahead-of-its time Mandeville place called Typhoon. It opened across the street from Lakeside Mall in an unusually handsome former Ground Pat’i in 2002.
From the day they took over, the owners began redecorating the place. It is now one of the handsomest Thai restaurants locally, with a cool, dimly-lit dining room and enough windows to make it spacious. The service is warm and efficient.
Fried spring rolls (several kinds)
Blanket shrimp (in rice paper, fried)
Pork or chicken on skewers, with cucumber sauce
Pan fried chicken dumplings
Pork shumai (steamed dumplings)
Tom yum goong (spicy shrimp soup)
Tom kar gai (coconut milk soup with chicken)
Glass noodle soup with crab stick
Mint leaf beef salad
Lemongrass calamari salad
Larb gai (Thai chicken salad)
Dishes marked with an * can be had with a choice of meat or seafood, or vegetarian
*Pad thai (soft rice noodles with spicy aromatic vegetables and choice of meat or seafood)
*Pad woonsen (glass noodles)
*Thai basil or Thai ginger
*Red, green, yellow, Panang, or musaman Thai curry, all available either Thai style (more like a soup) or American style
Grilled Bangkok pork chop
Lava beef or pork (very spicy)
Shrimp with roasted chili
*”Something in the jungle” (a brothy, vegetable-jammed curry)
Savage fish (salmon, not tilapia)
Andaman hunter (seems like every meat and vegetable in the house)
Thai fried rice
Mango sticky rice (dessert)
FOR BEST RESULTS
You do not need one entree per person. They’re so large that three per four people, plus a round of soups or appetizers, works fine. Take a leap of faith and ask for the Thai-style versions of everything–except perhaps for “Thai hot” seasoning levels, which will test the pain threshold for most people.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
Although they also have salmon, they could use a better default fish than tilapia.
FACTORS OTHER THAN FOOD
Up to three points, positive or negative, for these characteristics. Absence of points denotes average performance in the matter.
- Dining Environment +1
- Consistency +2
- Value +3
- Attitude +1
- Wine & Bar
- Hipness +1
- Local Color
- Open Sunday lunch and dinner
- Open Monday lunch and dinner
- Open all afternoon
- Unusually large servings
- Quick, good meal
- Good for children
- Easy, nearby parking
- Reservations accepted